How to support the little guys in the travel industry when everything is cancelled

As the United States (and really the world) is increasingly shutting down due to Covid-19, there’s a lot of talk about how to help your local businesses through these tough times.

While you don’t need to lose sleep over the bottom line of corporations like Delta and Airbnb, there are a huge number of employees, freelancers, and small businesses in the travel industry (myself included!) who will soon be struggling to pay their bills. Without support, not all of these businesses will exist once we’re ready to travel again.

With that in mind, here’s some suggestions to help out the most vulnerable people in the travel industry:

1. Start Planning Fall Travel

It’s possible that this pandemic will stretch on through the summer, putting a wrench in your summer travel plans. But you can help small businesses now by spending that vacation cash on a blowout fall or winter escape instead. Our big, beautiful world will still exist on the other side of this!

Book directly with a favorite small hotel, go ahead and reserve those discounted plane tickets, and book tours with small providers. Just be sure to use a credit card with travel insurance, so you’re covered in the event that things don’t work out quite as planned.

2. Support Your Local Small Businesses

Your might not think of your local restaurants and shops as being part of the tourism industry. But many, many restaurants, bars and shops do depend on purchases from leisure and business travelers.

Get takeout or delivery from restaurants and bars (yes, even some bars are offering delivery. I’m still trying to convince my neighborhood bar to mix me up and deliver a triple Mai Tai). You’ll be keeping your beloved neighborhood institutions in business, AND you won’t have to fight anyone over that last package of pasta on the grocery store shelves. Especially in areas where dining rooms have recently been closed, restaurants have a ton of food, and much less demand for it. Don’t let it go to waste!

It might not be responsible to head down to local shops right now, but you can check to see if they have an online presence, or look up local shops on Etsy. Just do an Etsy search, then use the sidebar Shop Location filter to find small businesses near you.

3. Do Your Online Shopping Through Affiliate Links

This one is personal, but travel bloggers, writers, and freelancers in the travel industry are seeing their projects cancelled across the board right now. Bloggers and other creatives rely on these projects and purchases of travel related items through their affiliate links to pay their bills.

This includes me. Freelance work has dried up, and purchases through my affiliate links are plummeting. No one wants to buy hanging toiletry bags when all their travel plans have been cancelled.

Even if you’re not planning on purchasing a new suitcase, you can make your routine Amazon purchases through my, or other bloggers links. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link, the affiliate (the blogger, magazine, etc) gets a small commission on your purchase, but your price stays the same, so it’s win-win. This is true for Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Delivery orders as well.

If you’re interested, here’s some of my affiliate links, any support would be much appreciated:

Amazon

Target

Walmart

Nordstrom (for the cute spring clothing only your cat will be seeing for awhile)

Sephora

It doesn’t have to be my links though, If you’re passionate about travel, I’m sure there’s someone you follow who could use the support, and it takes so little effort to use their affiliate links. Just visiting bloggers’ and travel magazine’s websites and browsing brings in a little ad revenue–and provides a much-needed break from the endless Netflix we’re all indulging in lately.

Take a look at what your favorite travel industry peeps are saying about their situation, and see how you can help. For example, Adventurous Kate is offering one-on-one calls with readers, where you can ask for travel related advice, or just chat.

4. Look for Opportunities to Help Individuals

Laid off airline, hotel, and other travel industry employees are going to need help paying their bills. Contribute a little if you can afford it. Look for GoFundMe campaigns or smaller efforts like this thread by Lord Birthday.

If you’re working in a field thus far unaffected by the crisis, reach out and try to connect unemployed peeps with jobs, or throw a bit of freelance work their way.

And given that there’s so already talk of a travel industry bailout, you should contact your elected representatives. Let them know that any aid package should include direct help for laid-off employees–not just a blank check for corporations!

I’d love to add links to this post for GoFundMe campaigns, etc. Feel free to comment below with links to fundraisers, or other ideas for supporting travel industry peeps, and I’ll check them out!

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